Throughout the Middle Ages, Italian art consisted primarily of architectural decorations (frescoes and mosaics). Byzantine art (see Byzantine art and architecture) in Italy was a highly formal and refined decoration with a standardized calligraphy and an admirable use of color and gold. Until the 13th cent., art in Italy was almost entirely regional, affected by external European and Eastern currents. After c.1250 the art of the various regions developed characteristics in common, so that a certain unity as well as great originality is observable.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.